April 15, 2004 • Volume 12 Number 15

The 2004 Arts Festival will include a concert by singer-songwriter Ellis Paul '87 on O'Neill Plaza on April 30.

Sixth Arts Festival Set to Kick Off April 29

By Rosanne Pellegrini
Staff Writer

The sixth annual Boston College Arts Festival, a popular campus rite of spring for the University and its neighbors, will again celebrate the artistic talents of the BC community during April 29-May 1.

Among the highlights of this year's festival will be the presentation of the annual Arts Council alumni award for artistic achievement to acclaimed singer-songwriter Ellis Paul '87, who will perform a concert on O'Neill Plaza on April 30.

The 2004 festival also will feature a special sculpture project, "Umbrellas in the Midst: From Geometry to Abstraction," consisting of 17 six-foot sculptures each sporting a large deck umbrella.

Organizers say the sculpture project is built around the theme "Let art be our umbrella," evoking the fickle New England weather which, while often making its presence felt at the festival, has never dampened audience enthusiasm for the event.

The sculptures have been decorated by members of BC student groups and organizations and will shortly appear in various campus buildings. They will displayed on O'Neill Plaza during the festival and a panel of judges will select the winners, which will be announced at noon on May 1.

Some 800 Boston College students, faculty and administrators - including musicians, actors, dancers, singers, sculptors, painters, photographers, writers, curators, filmmakers, authors and others - will participate in this year's arts festival.

Open to the public, the festival draws some 10,000 BC alumni and area residents to enjoy a wide variety of free events, and to support the arts at Boston College. Organizers say the 60 events during the three-day festival will engage and entertain attendees of all ages, who are invited to take part in "hands-on" experimentation with ceramics, painting and other artistic media. A full program of activities for children - including theater, crafts and story hour - also will be offered on May 1, and families are encouraged to attend.

"The Arts Festival is one of the most eagerly awaited events at Boston College, and one which involves the widest cross-section of the campus community," said Prof. Jeffery Howe (Fine Arts), chair of the University's Arts Council, which organizes the Arts Festival. "The level of creativity and range of talent on campus is impressive, and the opportunity to see it all in three days is exciting."

The festival features a full slate of performing and visual arts events, lectures and film screenings, literary, culinary and liturgical arts events. A Mass for the Arts, which unites the Christian liturgy with the visual arts, poetry, music and dance, will be celebrated on O'Neill Plaza on May 1.

Later that day at a special alumni gathering, University President William P. Leahy, SJ, will present the Arts Council award to Paul, regarded as one of contemporary folk music's most significant singer-songwriters. He was the chief architect of the "Boston school" of songwriting, an urbane, literate, folk-pop style that helped ignite the 1990s folk revival. Paul (nee Paul Plissey), among the folk circuit's most popular artists, has recorded 10 albums and recently released a documentary/concert DVD titled "3,000 Miles" and Notes from the Road, a critically acclaimed book of poems and stories. [More information on Paul is available at]

Paul's April 30 concert on O'Neill Plaza, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is open to the public. Tickets are $20, $5 for BC students. Call ext.2-4935 for information. In addition, he will give participate in an interview program as part of the festival's "Inside the BC Studio" series on April 30 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in O'Neill Plaza and lead a "Songwriting Master Class" on May 1 from 1:30-3 p.m. in Lyons 423.

The Arts Festival will be held rain or shine, and the O'Neill Plaza performance tent is heated. Indoor rain locations will be posted on the festival Web site,, along with schedules and other information about the festival.

top of page